Utah Logs A Record-Breaking 911 New COVID-19 Cases
The Utah Department of Health reported 911 COVID-19 cases Thursday, setting a new record in the state for most new cases in a single day since the pandemic began.
Gov. Gary Herbert said due to the ongoing COVID spike, the state will postpone any decision on loosening coronavirus restrictions in counties across the state. Thirteen counties are currently in the green, new normal phase of their pandemic response, and the rest of the state is in the yellow, low-restriction phase.
State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said Utah is on track to reach the same level of infection rates as the Navajo Nation and New York. State officials said they are also concerned that young people will pass the virus to older individuals. People ages 15-24 years old have accounted for the largest increase of new cases in Utah, averaging 273 a day for the past week.
But new hospitalizations and deaths have plateaued in comparison to the rate of increase of new cases.
Dunn also attributed 40% of new cases this week to Utah County where just under 19% of the state’s population lives.
Gov. Gary Herbert said he’s alarmed by the people who ignore or defy health guidelines and called upon all Utahns to change their behavior to prevent the spread of the virus.
“This battle is not going to be over any time soon,” Herbert said. “We can modify the outcomes and improve situations, which we’ve done over time. But until we have a vaccine and we can inoculate ourselves against this, we need to find ways to tread water ... [to] protect the vulnerable among us.”
Herbert said another key to getting the spike in cases under control is to extend testing opportunities to anyone who wants it, with or without symptoms. He said they are unsure why the number of Utahns getting tested has dropped, but they do not want the cost of testing to prohibit people from getting checked and his office will ask the Legislature to fund that.
But despite the new record and increase in cases, the governor stopped short — again — of issuing a statewide mask mandate, though he did say that option is still on the table. Instead, he called on local governments and health officials to do what’s best for their communities.